What is the reason for Uttarakhand tunnel accident? Know why the Himalayan region cracks…

-Seema Javed-

Uttarakhand accident: On the morning of 12 November, a 30 meter portion of the under-construction Silkyara Tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Since then, efforts are being made to rescue the 41 laborers trapped in the tunnel, but till now no success has been achieved in evacuating them, although it is expected that the laborers will be taken out by this evening.

The Himalayan region is a delicate ecosystem

Amidst the rescue operations of workers, the biggest question that is arising is why did this situation arise? It is now widely known that the Himalayan region is a delicate ecosystem which starts cracking due to heavy rains, cloud bursts and any activity like digging etc. There are many examples of this like Mansa Devi, Joshi Math, Kedarnath disaster. There is a risk of landslides in these areas due to digging, deforestation or heavy rains. Continuous construction work in such areas can lead to soil erosion. But even after that, the way construction is taking place in Uttarakhand or other areas of the Himalayas is worrying.

Need to understand environmental consequences

To avoid this, one must conduct a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before construction to understand the environmental consequences and implement mitigating measures. The stability of the terrain must also be thoroughly assessed to assess the risk of landslides, rock falls and avalanches.

Security standards are being overlooked

Experts say that the impact of climate change will cause more destruction in this sensitive area and in such a situation, construction for development will invite more disasters. Most believe that climate change, unplanned development and exploitation of natural resources are the factors behind this development. Construction work in these areas poses a constant threat to human life. Therefore, there is a need for more in-depth environmental studies and geo-mapping before starting such projects. In today’s era, when technology and science have reached their peak and we have touched the heights of the Moon, then why is that technology not being used to understand the depth of the earth? Absence of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) in tunnel construction, lack of emergency exits and absence of steel pipes or bars at intervals of 2-3 feet were among the reasons for the incident.

accountability should be fixed

In fact, there is a lack of accountability in environmental matters in India. In this, the provisions of both compensation and punishment under the ‘Law of Torts’ are weak. In such a situation, the agencies that get the work done don’t even care about compliance with the highest standards of safety. When an accident occurs, rescue operations are carried out by the government and government agencies and army personnel work together to deal with the problem. Therefore, it is necessary that the agencies carrying out construction work take all safety steps first and their accountability should also be fixed.

(The author is a famous environmentalist)

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